Sibylle's Style Diary: The Vibrant Tastemaker Katlean de Monchy

Sibylle's Style Diary: The Vibrant Tastemaker Katlean de Monchy
Katlean de Monchy (2nd R) with friends at the Watermill Center. (Patrick McMullan)

This week's style diary is the acclaimed lifestyle expert and TV personality Katlean de Monchy. The descendant of French aristocrats and the daughter of a US diplomat who defines herself as a digital story maker and a serial entrepreneur in fashion and technology has the vibrant influence of a French tastemaker, the practicality of an American business woman, and the heart of a Latina, as she was born in Barcelona and grew up in Mexico, Chile, and Columbia. Always an innovator and interested in emerging technology, she recently held the very interesting styleX eXperience showcase during the New York Fashion Week. She is sharing with us her perspective on style in this week's Style Diary.

Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?

Katlean de Monchy: Classic with a little piquante sauce. I am an uptown girl with a downtown alter ego, so I like to mix things up. It's the mix that is exciting; the uniform become cliché and boring.

Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?

Ms. de Monchy: Curious, connector, and fun.

Ms. Eschapasse: How has your style evolved since you were a teenager?

Ms. de Monchy: I have the same spirit but don't allow myself to expose as much skin as I did in those days.

Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you have ever worn?

Sibylle Eschapasse and Katlean de Monchy. (Courtesy of Rose Billings)
Sibylle Eschapasse and Katlean de Monchy. (Courtesy of Rose Billings)

Ms. de Monchy: Spandex and high heels when I was 20; not a good look and definitely a rebellious side. A little bad taste makes for an exciting persona, but I quickly learned that others are fast to make judgment.  If you want to be respected, classic is best.

Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?

Ms. de Monchy: I am always well groomed, it's a matter of basic self-respect for myself and those who I encounter.  I like to mix things up both during the week as well as on the weekends.  Fashion is really a reflection of what is going on in the world at a certain point in time.  

Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can't live without?

Ms. de Monchy: My Chanel bag collection. The diamond brooch belonging to my grandmother,
Jeanne de Monchy, whose feisty spirit I have inherited. And my Cartier watch.

Ms. Eschapasse: What's one item that makes you instantly more confident?

Ms. de Monchy: My watch makes me feel like I am ready for business, though I increasingly look at my phone for time.

Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences? 

Ms. de Monchy: I love Karl Lagerfeld's spirit and my mother's sense of what is appropriate. They're the yin and yang in my life.

Katlean de Monchy at StyleX. (Patrick McMullan)
Katlean de Monchy at StyleX. (Patrick McMullan)

Ms. Eschapasse: Who is your style icon?

Ms. de Monchy: I don't have one style icon.  As I cover celebrity looks for e-news daily, my icons are always evolving. I like those who dare to show an unexpected side of themselves.

Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.

Ms. de Monchy: Style is about editing, it's about knowing when to say no. It's about the courage of defining the colors, shapes that makes us look and feel our best, and then it's about the freedom to mix it up. It's also about buying fewer things and only allowing those that reflect that style to enter our closets. It isn't about money, it's about confidence.

Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you're most proud of?

Ms. de Monchy: My Van Cleef & Arpels coral earrings. 

Ms. Eschapasse: And what would you never pay much money for? 

Ms. de Monchy: Basics and jeans; they should be good quality but reasonably priced.

Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel? 

Ms. de Monchy: I always want to feel confident, so I look in the mirror, and then I can forget myself and enjoy and focus on the people with whom I am sharing the evening. Color can bring you a lot of energy if you have had a busy day. It also makes you stand out. Black is great when you want to look chic but you don't want to call all the eyes on you. Sometimes if you are a guest and you want to let the host stand out, this is a good way to go.

Ms. Eschapasse: Which designers can help you achieve that?

Ms. de Monchy: Zac Posen, Chanel, and then some no-names that speak to me because of their cut or color. I also admire Norell.

Ms. Eschapasse: What do you think of how others dress and what's your advice to people who would like to develop their personal style?

Ms. de Monchy: I love to watch people who are daring in their choices. I am inspired by how some teenagers and seniors mix things up. I am not turned on by people who just display wealth; that is cheap. In order to develop personal style, you have to know yourself well. You have to be very focused on what will add dimension to things you already own. It is better to only buy one thing in a season that is really special than than nothings. I shop on sale when it comes to basics that need refreshing. I splurge for the special items.

Katlean's Favorites

Favorite color: Red
Favorite perfume: Angel by Thierry Mugler
Favorite restaurant in NY: Le Cirque and Da Silvano
Favorite drink: Veuve Clicquot Champagne
Favorite movie: "Casablanca"
Favorite book: The Bible
Favorite quote: "If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time." Marcel Proust, "Remembrance of Things Past"

Sibylle's "Style Diary" is a column that explores style from the perspective of choices, and what that means for different people, with personal advice from some of the most stylish people in New York.

Sibylle Eschapasse is from Paris and now lives in Manhattan. She is a journalist and a contributing writer to various publications. Sibylle is also the author of a children's book, "Argy Boy a New York Dog Tale." She may be reached at